If you’re worried you’re the only pet parent spending their evenings Googling the question ‘why does my dog pee on my bed?’ then let us put your mind at rest because it’s a lot more common than you might think.
While having your dog taking their daily bathroom breaks on your bed can be massively frustrating (not to mention time-consuming with all the cleaning up), it’s unlikely your pooch is deliberately trying to make your life difficult.
There are a lot of reasons behind urinary accidents, ranging from medical issues and signs of old age in a dog to your pooch not getting as many bathroom breaks as they need, and the good news is, there are plenty of strategies you can use to help reduce the likelihood of this behavior continuing.
Below you’ll find a breakdown of the most common reasons why your dog might be peeing on your bed as well as some easy tips and tricks you can start using today to help get your pooch back on the right track.
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1. They have a medical issue
If your dog has never peed on your bed before but has suddenly started doing so, one of the first things to rule out is an underlying medical issue that could be causing them to lose control over their bladder.
There's a range of health problems that can cause urinary accidents, including kidney disease, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and urinary tract infections. Many of these can be treated by your vet with medications and dietary changes, so it’s worth making an appointment as soon as possible.
Another common issue in senior dogs is arthritis and while this doesn’t in itself cause a loss of bladder control, it can make moving around painful, which can slow your pooch down and mean they’re less likely to make it outside in time and more likely to pee wherever they’re sitting.
On top of this, dogs with arthritis may not always fully empty their bladders when they’re taken outside for a bathroom break and this can cause smaller leakages when they’re settled back on your bed.
We recommend investing in one of the best luxury dog beds to give your hound his own comfortable sleep spot and if you get one that’s waterproof with a removable cover, it will make cleaning up accidents a lot easier.
2. They’re feeling excited or anxious
Strong emotions are another common reason your dog may suddenly pee on your bed. Excitement can cause some hounds to dribble urine and while this is most likely to happen in younger dogs, some adult dogs will experience this too.
You may also notice that it happens when your dog is feeling scared, stressed or anxious and this is often triggered by changes in their routine or living environment. If you’ve recently had houseguests, have welcomed a new pet or child into the family or your home has been undergoing renovations, these are all things that may trigger a stress response in your pup.
You’ll probably find that the behavior stops once your dog’s routine or environment returns to normal, but if you notice they’re continuing to urinate on your bed (or elsewhere) after things have settled down, it’s worth taking them to the vet for a checkup.
3. Marking their territory
Dogs love to mark their territory and unfortunately, this marking behavior will often extend to furniture in the home. If your dog is releasing small amounts of urine onto your bed as opposed to emptying their entire bladder, then what you’re likely seeing is urine marking.
This kind of behavior is most common in male dogs, although female dogs may also do it too, and puppies will do it a lot if they haven’t been spayed or neutered. While it’s more than a little annoying, your dog isn’t doing it to upset you but rather to reassure themself that this particular space belongs to them.
It’s not always fun growing old and for senior dogs, incontinence is one of many issues they often have to deal with. While it can happen in both sexes, incontinence is more common in female dogs who, as they age, tend to lose control of the neck of their bladder.
Dogs can also experience dementia as they age which can result in confusion and cause them to forget their house training. Both old age and dementia can cause dogs to leak urine involuntarily, both when they’re asleep, and when they’re awake.
As well as peeing on the bed, check your dog for damp legs and a persistent smell of urine as well as watching out for an increased tendency to lick their back end, all of which are signs they may be struggling with incontinence.
If you have a young puppy, you may also find incontinence to be an issue, but it’s unlikely that there’s any reason for alarm here. Learning how to potty train a puppy can take some time and it’s normal for them to have accidents around the house until they have control over their bladder.
5. They need more bathroom breaks
Sometimes peeing on the bed is simply a case of needing more bathroom breaks during the day. Every dog is different and some need to empty their bladder more frequently than others.
If you’re finding your dog is peeing on your bed, try taking him out for an extra bathroom break. This is particularly helpful after mealtimes and before bed, where the need to urinate is more likely.
Remember that puppies can’t hold their bladders for anywhere near as long as adult dogs, so they’ll need to be taken out much more frequently. A good rule of thumb when it comes to puppies is to take their age and add one, which will give you an idea of how often they need a bathroom break. So, a two-month-old puppy will usually be able to wait three hours between potty breaks.
How to stop your dog from peeing on your bed
While it can be incredibly frustrating to constantly be having to wash your bedding because your dog has decided to use your sleep spot as a toilet, the good news is there’s plenty you can do to put a stop to this undesirable behavior. Here are a few of our top tips:
Consult your vet
If your dog is peeing on your bed and it’s happening on a regular basis, the first port of call is most definitely your vet. They’ll be able to do a physical examination, run some tests to rule out any underlying health conditions and advise you on the best course of action.
Plenty of toilet breaks
Once you’ve ruled out a medical issue, the next thing is to make sure your dog is getting enough toilet breaks. It’s better to err on the side of caution and take your pup out more frequently as this will reduce the likelihood of them having an accident. Key times are when they’ve just woken up, after meals, and before bed.
Restrict access to your bedroom
The easiest way to stop your dog from peeing on your bed is to restrict their access to it. Keep your bedroom door closed and if you must let your dog in, do so only when you’re around to keep an eye on them.
We recommend all pet parents learn how to crate train a dog as this can be a helpful way of containing accidents in a space that’s easy to clean as opposed to having them happen on your bed or other places around the home.
Far from being a punishment, spending time in a crate can actually be helpful for anxious or senior dogs who may be peeing because they’re feeling insecure or unsettled. A crate can serve as a safe space for them to relax in and can provide them with a sense of comfort.
Behavior modification training
For dogs who have been potty trained but seem to have started peeing in the house again as a way to mark their territory, behavior modification training may be needed to stamp this out.
If you catch your dog in the act of peeing on your bed, interrupt them with a loud clap of your hands and immediately take them outside to finish their business. Once they’re done, use positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise and the best dog treats to reward them for good behavior.
Resist the temptation to scold your dog or punish them for peeing - just like us humans, our canine companions respond a lot better to being rewarded for positive behaviors than they do for being told off for negative ones.
Thoroughly clean up all accidents
You’re probably already all over this one but it’s worth pointing out that dogs have a sense of smell far greater than humans and if they can smell their urine, they’re more likely to want to pee in the same spot again.
When cleaning up after your dog, use an enzyme-based pet stain and odor remover that will absorb the smell completely as this will reduce the chance that they keep coming back to your bed to do their business.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.